June 24, 2009

NOSDRA orders PPMC to halt mop up of oil spill from sinking vessel

By Emma Arubi
WARRI—THE National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency ( NOSDRA), has ordered the Product and Pipelines Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC and Clean Nigeria Associates (CAN) to stop further mop up of the massive crude oil spill from the sinking oil vessel, J.S. Amazing, until a comprehensive Joint Investigation Visit, JIV, by all stakeholders has been executed.

Similarly, Minister of Environment has been called upon to direct environmental regulatory agencies to order the immediate containment of the massive crude oil spill from J.S. Amazing that ran into under water dolphin at the NNPC jetty at Ijalla, Warri, since June 6, 2009 and got one of its oil storage tank destroyed.

The Committee of NNPC/PPMC Oil Impacted Communities of Warri South Local Government Area, representing sixteen different towns in a petition addressed to the minister, Federal Ministry of Environment, Abuja  and the Director-General, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), said the current spill, which is an “Ecological disaster, will further degrade our environment and gradually put our ecosystem to total ruin if urgent remedial work was not carried out in all the impacted sites, waterways and its associated creeks”.

The petition signed by an Environmental Consultant, Mr. Eyitemi Brown-Dibofun; Chairman of the committee, Mr. Emmanuel Orugboh and Secretary, Mr. Okerentie Michael respectively, stated that the massive Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) spill has travelled several kilometres in the Warri rivers indicating that attempt to contain it has not been successful.

They accused the management of PPMC, who owns the black oil of contracting the services of Clean Nigeria Associate (CAN) who they alleged are hurriedly recovering the spilled oil without first containing the spread and ascertaining the extent of impact and finally undertaking a comprehensive JIV as demanded by the law governing oil spill management in the country.

They maintained that the “motive of the hurried recovery plan was to obliterate evidence of the massive spill”.

Authoritative sources at the NOSDRA office in Warri told Vanguard yesterday that Clean Nigeria Associate has been directed to stop further clearing of the crude until full assessment of the spill and its impact carried out through the Joint Investigation Visit by all stakeholders where remedial action would be ordered and adequate compensation to impacted communities worked out.

The sources further said CNA mopping up job is capable of affecting the claims of impacted communities who suffered the heavy spill and therefore there is need for them to stop further action to avoid communal violence in these areas.

Vanguard learnt that the PPMC has also agreed for NOSDRA to conduct the JIV with the stakeholders, even as sources told Vanguard that it is only logistic problem that is holding back the conduct of the JIV, noting that “all things being equal we are going to meet with the relevant stakeholders on Wednesday 24 while the JIV will take place on Thursday to determine the extent of spill, damage, remedial action and compensation where applicable”.